|15 July 2014|
|Nikola Zizic took over responsibility in the clutch to lift Montenegro past Latvia |
Montenegro trailed Latvia for almost the entire duration of their thrilling Tuesday Group G clash and by as many as 14 points, but came back to clinch a 60-59 triumph in the dying minutes.
Turning Point: There was little, if any, indication that Montenegro would be able to mount a counter-attack in this encounter after they fell behind 41-27 late in the second quarter. Yet the Balkan side outscored Latvia 16-7 during the third quarter to enter the final frame within striking distance and Nikola Zizic tied the scores at 57 with just 47 seconds remaining. An Anzejs Pasecniks dunk returned the lead to Latvia, 59-57, but a cool-as-ice Zizic drilled the go-ahead three-pointer for Montenegro with 13 seconds left and Latvia missed a lay-up on the last possession.
Game Hero: Zizic could have turned up only for the final 50 seconds of the game and he would still be proclaimed Montenegro's hero on the basis of his five good-as-gold points in the clutch. As it turned out, the Montenegrin forward had a crucial contribution in the battle on the glass as he picked up a game-high 15 rebounds to complete a double-double with his 11 points.
Stats Don't Lie: Montenegro almost served the game on a silver plate to Latvia with their 26 turnovers but survived this clash largely because they were quite successful in finishing whenever they maintained possession, as they shot 19-for-40 from two-point range, while Latvia went only 22-for-60.
The Bottom Line: Montenegro's win has thrown Group G wide open for the moment as right now Sweden stand at 1-0, Montenegro and Latvia are tied at 1-1 and Bulgaria are at 0-1.